Here’s what Thobani Mntambo had to say about his Perfect Poem Nomination, his secret to remaining consistent in the poetry industry and a word to his fans.
1. What sort of investment/effort, emotionally and physically, went into this body of work?
A significant amount of investment/effort goes into all my works. With Ellipsis particularly, it was emotionally draining more than it was physically. I wrote 1 line each day. Fully sitting in the emotion carried by each one, in the context of parting ways with a significant other. And so because of this, it was part breaking, but also part exciting because of what it was structurally and conceptually. 33 days later, we had the complete poem. Then relived those in rehearsal. Spectacular experience. I fall in love with words a little more with each experiment. Everything I had at the time, went into this body of work.
2. What message does your poem carry? What sort of feedback do you usually receive from your audience in regards to this poem?
The poem carries a reflective tone. The idea that when you part ways with someone. That is when you most feel like speaking to them, and though you would like for them to hear it all, it is far better when they don’t.
It also speaks to paying attention to one’s emotions daily. And begin to understand and translate what they are saying. Awareness. Sbu said everybody breaks in the same language. I have merely introduced a dialect through which some people may relate.
It receives confused reactions most times. I try not to concern myself with it, however, have welcomed all the feedback I can get. To broaden my perspective of how it is received. And see how closely it aligns with what I think I am saying. So the above could be totally off the mark for some people.
3. What is your secret to longevity in the poetry industry, what keeps you writing and performing?
I imagine this has not really been tested as the slam drove most of the output for the past two years. The true test begins now when we channel what the slam has chiselled into transcendence. I am yet to earn my stripes when it comes to longevity and consistency. But most importantly, learning and growth.
4. If you win the Perfect Poem award, what would that mean to you?
Winning the perfect poem award would be a motivation, a sign, to keep learning, keep writing and keep growing. But most importantly it would mean I have shared the journey with many. And for that, I must be grateful
5. Any words to your fans on why they should vote for you?
If we have been journeying together. Grown together and shared, and learnt together through this journey we have been on. Through the chokes, the crisp executions and the experiments. You know that the gratitude goes back to you choosing to listen with an open heart, every time. Thankful for taking your days to take in, and give feedback on the art we share in. You understand that GIFTED MINDS DON’T BELONG IN BOXES.
And why you should vote? I guess it would be quite an experience to share in a moment where all of it is recognised because of this shared journey and understanding of existence.
Does ‘Ellipsis’ by Thobani deserve the 2016 Word N Sound Perfect Poem Award? If so, cast your vote now.
Voting closes at 20:00 on Sun 5 Feb. You can vote once every hour. The 5th Word N Sound Awards will take place on Sat 11 Feb at the Market Theatre Lab in Newtown. Get all your event info here.